Gröna Lund is a permanent attraction in Stockholm with exciting rides, restaurants, bars and an important concert stage on which most of the world’s more famous artistes–ranging from Birgit Nilsson via Chuck Berry to The Clash–have performed.
Posters for events and concerts at Gröna Lund have become highly collectible. Between 1971 and 1988 they were designed by one man, Nils Sture Jansson–who produced about 800 individual posters, sometimes with incredibly short deadlines. In 2012 Premium Publishing produced a book containing 200 of Nils Sture Jansson’s poster designs edited by Nils Sture Jansson’s son, Jonas, and Gröna Lund’s own historian Andreas Theve. The book rapidly sold out when it was published–but I was lucky to find a copy in Söders Bokhandel– a little, but extremely well-stocked bookshop in Stockholm. The book has also become highly collectible.
Nils Sture Jansson’s relatively simple illutrations capture the spirit of the artists and, according to the introduction, were much admired by them. Only a few were unhappy–and that was sometimes due to the fact that his or her name was misspellt.
Here are some samples (posters for artists I personally like):
Jansson would be supplied with photos of the artist(s) and deconstruct them to make his poster designs.
Kristian Russell has taken over and is continuing the tradition of Gröna lund posters.
Poster for Henrik Berggren’s concert on the 50th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s concert on the same stage.
I’ve divested myself of the majority of my concert and art posters but have kept a few that I particularly like. When I sold my record and poster collection, the buyers, knowing that I collect Klaus Voormann’s record cover art promised me a signed, numbered edition of Klaus Voormann’s portrait of John Lennon. I collected it the other day.
It joins my signed Banana poster from 1981-2. Nationalmuseum in Stockholm presented a huge exhibition of record cover art from 27th October 1981 – 17th January 1982. This was the year before the CD was introduced so all covers were of vinyl releases. I still have the exhibition catalogue from the Nationalmuseum’s exhibition – which has the Velvet Underground & Nico LP design on its cover. The catalogue has an eight page review of Warhol’s cover art and pictures six covers (two Kenny Burrell, one Johnny Griffin, Two Rolling Stones and – the obligatory – Velvet Underground & Nico) written by Bo Nilsson. This must be the first anaytical review of Warhol’s record cover art that I ever read. Of course, only a few warhol covers were recognised in 1981, so the choice of these six is hardly surprising.
I felt that the covers in the exhibition were arranged rather haphazardly and I wrote a three-page letter to Nationalmuseum suggesting how the covers could have been better presented. I did not expect a reply, but one came by return informing me that the exhibition was moving to Umeå’s Bildmuseum and that the museum would contact me to discuss which covers should be included. They did, too! and about thirty of my covers were included in the Umeå exhibition.
In 2008, as discussions about putting on the “Happy Birthday Andy Warhol” exhibition in Piteå were underway a copy of the poster for the Nationalmuseum’s record cover exhibition came up for sale. This was a one-off and beautifully signed by Andy Warhol in pencil. So it was included in the Piteå exhibition and has since then hung on my wall.
I have to get rid of my music collection in the next three months. I had a visit from a British company that buys record collections. Two guys spent 36 hours going through my collection and making notes and agreed that it was a pretty interesting collection. A week after they left, I received an offer for about one fifth of what my estimation of the collection’s value. So I turned it down. Now I’ll probably have to sell on Ebay. That’ll mean a lot of hard work.
As I have previously stated, I will keep my specialist collections of record cover art. My Banksy collection lacks just three covers. I have a possible contact for getting hold of the elusive “Monkeys With Car Keys” CD, but I’m not sure how reliable that contact will prove to be. We’ll see. My Klaus Voormann collection is still growing as I find more covers. I’ve just found an further two; Heinz Rudolf Kunze’s “Reine Nervensache” from 1981 and what appears to be a new release – Van Dyke Parks’ “All is Golden” seven inch single – which has a lovely Voormann painting on the front cover.
This coming week I’ll be discussing the possibility of putting on an exhibition of Banksy’s record cover art in Stockholm this summer. It seems highly likely that it will come off. Just some niggly little details like finance to be ironed out.